EXCLUSIVE | By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal have offered Jack Wilshere a new contract as they attempt to tie him down to a new deal this summer, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners have told Wilshere’s camp in preliminary negotiations they are willing to hand him an extended deal that includes a substantial pay rise.
Wilshere has three years to run on his existing £90,000-a-week package but Arsenal are keen to avoid a situation where he could be antagonised into pushing for a move.
The England midfielder is a target of Manchester United and he is also being linked with their neighbours Manchester City.
However, Football Insider understands that Arsenal have no intention of cashing in on their youth Academy graduate and will reject any bids for him.
Manager Arsene Wenger retains full faith in the Gunners talisman despite some off-field controversies and the series of serious injuries that have stalled his progress since his breakthrough 2010-11 campaign.
The 23-year-old is seeking a deal that lifts his current agreement in line with fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who signed a £110,000-a-week contract 15 months ago.
United are interested in Wilshere as they assess options to reinvigorate their central midfield, with manager Louis van Gaal keen to sign a top-quality midfielder this summer. The two-goal star of England’s recent win over Slovenia is deemed to be a realistic target.
The England international has come to United’s attention because he is still only 23, has his best years ahead of him and there is a feeling that he might need a fresh challenge and a move away from the London bubble.
One concern might be his injury record, although Arsenal will refute all offers, including any over £30million, for a player who joined the club as an eight-year-old.
Wilshere made just 23 Arsenal appearances last season and was sidelined by the latest in a series of ankle injuries for nearly six months.